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Nigeria has the lowest education budget

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Oyo state and others allocated over 20 percent budget to the educational sector.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed concern over the lack of attention given to the education sector, pointing out that the country has the smallest education budget compared to other West African countries. Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the ASUU President, made these remarks during a seminar titled ‘Emerging Areas of Students Needs in Beneficiary Institutions’ hosted by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in Abuja. He further emphasised raising the education tax to 10 percent, significantly boosting TETFund funding from ₦600 billion per year to ₦3 trillion.

A study was conducted on West African countries. The range of budget allocation to education in West African countries varies from 15 percent to 32 percent. In Nigeria, only 4.5 to 7 percent is allocated, with less than 70 percent actually being distributed. Despite this, the Awolowo administration directed more than 30 percent of the funds towards improving education. According to him, Enugu, Abia, and Oyo states have allocated over 20 percent of their budgets specifically for the sector’s development.

Stakeholders should be engaged in accessing university funds.

Osodeke criticised numerous University Vice-Chancellors for neglecting to engage key stakeholders in effectively utilising TetFund allocations for their institutions. Inviting stakeholders like them to attend this meeting is a prime illustration of the TETFund’s approach. However, they recollect the agreement to convene stakeholder meetings before disbursing funds to university VCs. The National Executive Committee (NEC) held its meeting a few days ago, and fewer than 10 percent expressed interest in attending the stakeholder meeting. He argued that universities must engage with stakeholders to receive access to the funds, as they ultimately belong to the Nigerian population.

Sonny Echono, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, stressed the importance of carefully assessing various needs and expectations when funding educational initiatives. Echono also stressed the importance of allocating funding to vital programs that align with the strategic goals for investment outcomes, focusing on either physical infrastructure or content development, both of which are typically supported by the funding. Complementary programs and adequate physical infrastructure are crucial to achieving the greatest possible impact and advantages for the intended audience.

New Services Centre will enhance program offerings at universities.

Furthermore, the Fund regularly evaluates its activities and interventions to ensure they align with the original goals. The executive secretary mentioned implementing new programs and interventions, as well as making changes and improvements to existing ones. They also mentioned removing any programs that were not producing results when needed. In 2024, a new initiative called the Career Services Centre was implemented to enhance the assembly of programs offered at colleges and universities. The Fund sees the creation of these centres as vital to enhancing students’ career prospects and job readiness, as these are the primary purposes of higher education institutions.

Career service centres are crucial in guiding students toward making well-informed decisions about their future career paths in developed countries. Through the centres, students are equipped with valuable insights into job market trends, opportunities, and essential skills. They also benefit from connections to various employment sectors, including alumni networks from their respective institutions. Echono mentioned that the centres offer students resources for self-evaluation, helping them recognise their passions, abilities, limitations, and opportunities. Also, they provide counselling, direction, and assistance to every student.

Related Article: Key educational sector’s issues under Tinubu

In addition, the disparity in education budget allocation between Nigeria and other West African countries is a cause for concern, as it delays the development and progress of the sector. The need for increased funding, effective utilisation of resources, and stakeholder engagement is crucial to ensure that initiatives are well-supported and successful. By prioritising education and investing in vital programs and infrastructure, the country can work towards improving the quality of education and preparing students for successful careers and opportunities in the future.


Related Link

TETFund: Website


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